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Fashion Week Follies

Knockoff artists make a substantial profit on copying creative designers' hottest looks straight off the runway, thus skipping both the process of developing new looks and the expense of creating and marketing an entire line.  But how do they know which items the fashion press -- and more importantly, the consumer -- will anoint as this year's must-have pieces? 

Ugly Betty, ABC television's knockoff of the Columbian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, offers a fictionalized version of how discount chain "Century 21 Eternal 18" sneaks a peek in to the fashion pack's seasonal fetishes:


Of courses, the Mode staffer's scam isn't actually criminal -- unless the scheme is to steal the item itself.  But why settle for a clandestinely emailed photo or two when you could build a whole subplot around getting hold of "it"?